I can't work up much sympathy for this fellow.
In what should serve as a warning to telephone terrorists everywhere, a former Pranknet member has been sentenced to five years in prison for a hoax call that resulted in significant damage to a McDonald’s in Texas.
James Tyler Markle, 20, received the stiff sentence Tuesday during a sentencing hearing before Judge Barry Bryan in Angelina County District Court, according to a court judgment. Markle will soon be transported from the county jail to the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, the state’s oldest lockup and home to its death chamber.
Markle, whose Pranknet handiwork was first described in these pages, pleaded guilty to placing a call last June that resulted in about $5000 in damages to a McDonald’s in Lufkin (that hoax is detailed here). As a teary Markle was led from the courthouse in handcuffs, his aunt told a TV reporter that he was a “very nice, respectful young man," adding that she had “never known him to be in trouble before.”
She apparently forgot the small matter of her nephew raping a five-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Baptist church. He spent about 30 months in a youth detention facility for that felony conviction. Markle is pictured in the above mug shot.
Earlier this year, Markle--who used the online moniker "Prankster"--was sentenced to three years probation after he pleaded guilty to two felonies stemming from a phone prank targeting an Arby’s restaurant in Louisiana. He also remains the target of a Kentucky police probe examining a repulsive prank at a Lexington hotel that ended with a front desk clerk drinking the urine of a hotel guest.
On the bright side, Markle’s stay in Huntsville could be significantly shortened if he is granted admission into a “shock probation” program. That decision, Judge Bryan noted, will be made in three to four months.